Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Life of the Doctor


ARCADIA—Early last Saturday evening, the renegade Timelord known as the Doctor was seen commandeering a TARDIS with a young woman, at this time believed to be his granddaughter, and disappearing into the time vortex.
            “He just, sort of, walked up as if he was doing what he was supposed to be,” says a witness who wishes to remain anonymous. “He stepped into the doorway, looked around suspiciously, and then entered and the ship flew off into the horizon.”
            The current whereabouts of the Doctor and his companion are not currently known. Friends of the Doctor’s granddaughter, who may be travelling under the pseudonym Susan Foreman, say that the girl mentioned she would be travelling to London, England, Earth in the year 1963. Government officials have kept an eye on the Level 5 planet for any sort of suspicious activity, though nothing to date has been reported.
            “As of the current moment, there have not been any altercations in the history of the planet, though we will  keep close scrutiny throughout all of time and space for the runaway," a government official explains. 
           The government has asked the citizens of Gallifrey to surrender any information on the location of the man. "The penalty for theft in this case is not too great, but we would like for the safe return of the vessel. Of course, he may have regenerated by now, so the search may be a struggle, but we plan to follow through."
The Doctor, in what is believed
to be his original incarnation
before any occurrence of

No More
I have had many faces and seen many things
I’ve seen the birth of the universe and
when Time ran out
Never once did I ever think that
my own people’s end could come
I’ve run for so long
Helping those whom I could
Leaving those whom I could not
It’s time I stopped
No more helping
A War must be ended
We are no more in the right
There is only bloodshed and it stains the cosmos
A warrior is the one who can end this
I must change once again, for the sake of it all
No more helping

Doctor no more

The trigger is pulled
Timelords, Daleks, burn in flames
I am all alone

Dear Journal,
What is done is done. I sent my planet up in flames and I watched it burn. Two entire species, wiped out in the single push of a button. It had to be done though, right? War was spreading all across the stars and they were going out. My people were no more in the right than our enemies any longer. What I did, I did without choice, in the name of peace, in the name of sanity. I have been running all my life, but now I have no home to return to. I am truly alone in the universe. On the upside, Journal, I did meet a girl the other day. She’s a rambunctious 19 year-old from 21st century London. I always did love England. She’s the kind of girl who can make all these memories seem like a bad dream. Rose Tyler. The name has the Companion ring to it. Perhaps it will be alright after all. I can show her things her tiny ape mind could never conceive. There is something, however, which my own mind has difficulty comprehending. What is the meaning behind “Bad Wolf”? It follows me wherever I go with this girl. It’s a mystery worth solving, for sure. Until next time, we’ll keep running and we’ll never stop. There is no going home now. No going home.

Parting of the Ways
Rose Tyler, Bad Wolf
Last words, you were fantastic
 Know What? So was I

I wanted to be ginger, but that’s alright
I could be bald if I still had this mind
I’ll take you places you dream of at night
Simply because I am a lord of space and time
Ask me why, I’ll just say “Because.”
Be my friend, that’s your part
Any star that ever is or was
Where do you want to start?
Perhaps to Barcelona (the planet)
Stars of which you’ve never heard
I’ll leave it up to you to plan it
All I need is the word
Now, Rose Tyler, say with me
Off we go! Allons-y!
A New Companion
            Martha walked into the TARDIS and what she saw she could not comprehend. She asked herself how this was possible and her mind returned no feasible explanation. She ran back out and had a good look at the spectacle. It was an ordinary police box (although ordinary may not be the right word for it; there hadn’t been one on the streets of London for years). She ran around the container several times before reentering. If the box was as small on the outside as what it seemed, how, she asked, was it so big on the inside? It was an entire space ship, infinitely larger on the inside than the out. “What is this place?” she implored.
            “It’s called the TARDIS. Stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space,” replied the man who called himself John Smith. “It can travel anywhere in time and space in the blink of an eye. We vanish here and reappear there.” A wide grin spread across his bespectacled face. “Pretty neat, innit?”
            Martha was at a loss for words. This morning, she had walked to work at the hospital like any other day. Yet in the last five hours, she had been on the moon, abducted by aliens that looked like rhinos, helped capture an intergalactic fugitive, and saved this man’s life. Or had he saved hers?  This man, in his flashy blue suit and dark brown trench coat, was truly remarkable, that much was certain. Everything else about him remained a mystery. “Neat? More like spectacular!”
            “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Didn’t want to get too full of myself, but spectacular is just the word for it. I’ve learned to not show that I know I’m impressive on a first impression. There’s much more time for that later. So what do you say?”
            “What do you mean?”
            At this, the man spread his arms wide and his smile grew even broader. “All this. Every star that ever was or is ever going to be. This could all be yours. What I’m trying to say, essentially…where do you want to start?”
            “Hold on a minute, Mister,” Martha retorted. “What makes you think I’d want to join you? I don’t even know your proper name! John Smith? Really?”
            “Name’s the Doctor,” he replied.
            “Well, Doctor, if I do come with you, will it always be as dangerous as it was today?”
            “Oh yeah,” he responded with a mischievous gleam in his eye.
            For the first time since she entered the craft, Martha shared as big a smile as the Doctor’s.
Rose, Martha, Donna
One lost, one left, one forgot
Alone once again
This is my farewell
Time has come, but all I’ll say:
I don’t want to go
I’m young now. Young is cool.
I wear a bowtie. I want a fez.
Bowties and fezzes are cool.
Amelia Pond, I am most definitely
A madman with a box.
It’s the bluest of blue
Old and new, at the same time.
I borrowed it, you know
Let’s you and me never return it
Let’s jump into the unknown
You, me, and Rory the Roman
Come along, Ponds.
All of time waits.
Just Stories
            Amy sat on the edge of the main console’s platform, staring off into the infinite space that is the TARDIS. The Doctor looked up from the controls, noticing the discouraged look which graced his companion’s countenance. “Rory,” he called. Rory descended from a staircase in his pajamas, rubbing his eyes and with mouth agape.
            “What is it, Doctor?”
            “Amy looks glum. See what’s the matter, I’m a bit busy at the moment.”
            “What happens after us, Doctor?” Amy chimed in.
            The Doctor stopped what he was doing and put his hands on the console. This was a conversation he always hoped would never surface. It was a conversation he never enjoyed having. In an attempt to steer the discussion in another direction, he replied, “I know what will cheer you up. There’s a planet in a resort galaxy that is completely made of ice-cream. There are waterfalls of hot fudge and they say it rains sprinkles, so mind your eyes when you look up. Now I think I’ve put that trip off long enough. What do you say, Ponds?”
            “Don’t go off changing the topic, Raggedy Man. What happens to us after you’re gone? You’ve lived forever and probably will continue to.” She looked at Rory. “We won’t. All these people you’ve travelled with, Martha, Rose, Donna, and the others, are we all just stories to you? ‘Cause I’m afraid that you’re just like Father Christmas. You come and wrap us up in a world full of fantasy, but then there’ll come a time when Father Christmas doesn’t show up and you realize that he’s not going to come.” Her voice trailed off and silence filled the room.
            The Doctor walked over to where the girl sat and joined her, swinging his feet freely. “Amelia Pond, let me tell you something. I have been travelling for so long that I can’t even really remember how long for. I have seen nearly every edge of the universe (I’m telling you, ice-cream planet; we need to go) and I have seen some of the most spectacular things. All of those things pale in comparison to you. Amelia Pond, the Girl Who Waited, and Rory the Roman: you two are much more than just stories. Before you, I would drift from place to place, alone. You have given me a purpose. I am Father Christmas and I will never stop coming, but you, Amelia Pond, have given me the greatest gift of all.”
            Amy smiled and rested her head on the Doctor’s shoulder. “All right, you, no need to get so touchy-feely. But if we are going to go anywhere, let’s not go to that ice-cream planet.”
            The Doctor stood up, twirled around and set to work on the controls. “Where to?”
            “Can we go to Manhattan?”
Don’t Blink
Don’t blink, please don’t blink
Blink and you’re dead, you know that
 Please, Pond, please don’t blink
Dear Journal
Why must everyone I love disappear? Rory and Amy are gone forever. I can’t get them back. Why does this always happen to me? The Weeping Angels took them from me and there’s no getting them back. Perhaps it’s time for me to retire, Journal. Every person I come close to dies or suffers an even worse fate. I can’t let that happen again. I am the Doctor but I bring plague with me wherever I go. No more. No more.

Do you know what you are?
You are the impossible girl.
Twice you have died.
A mystery wrapped in an enigma.
The only mystery worth solving.
I have found you once again.
I have lost so many;
I have lost you twice.
I ran and I remembered.
Who are you,
you impossible girl?
The Time of the Doctor
Ten times you have died and been Reborn.
Eleventh, it is Now your time.
the Zenith of your Adventures will
be you Lying on the battlefield.
Oswin will look on helplessly.
Regeneration is nigh. this is the End.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”-Banksy

            I woke up on a cold, marble tiled floor. The air around me is quite frigid, and yet no breath can be seen hovering around my mouth. Slowly, I stand up and check my surroundings. I seem to be in a museum of some sort, Or what once was a museum. It's slightly dilapidated now, but I feel as if this place was once of some importance. It feels more like a mausoleum now. There is a light peering from a door down the vacant corridor. I pass pillars covered in white sheets of cobwebs as I move along the vestibule, arrive at the door, and walk through.
            The scene on the other side is much more lively than the land of the dead I just left. People are hustling and bustling about, not paying any real attention to anything around them. I was right in thinking this place was a museum. I should know; I've spent the majority of the past few years wandering around them. The arts have always been my passion in life, but the same can't be said for architecture, so nearly every museum feels the same to me. But this particular museum I know rather well. Whitechapel Gallery. I've spent countless hours in this place. Sure,  the National and Victoria and Albert are great, but Whitechapel holds a special place in my heart.
            A lady slightly younger than me, perhaps in her twenties or young thirties, is standing in front of a painting that I have spent hours admiring. I have been painting ever since I could grasp a brush and it has become my life's passion. Nothing comes before my art. The occasional odd job finds me here and there, but I have never committed to a full time job, investing every cent into my work. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to finally get my first break and had a painting of mine put on display here. And this young girl is admiring it.
            Walking up behind her, I stand silent, pretending to be in awe of the work myself, trying all the while to catch her eye. The gal didn't realize that I was situated behind her, and after a minute or so, I begin to slightly cough. No response. I up the volume in hopes that she may turn around and meet the artist himself. No response. Baffled, I clear my throat one last time and softly say, "It's quite the piece, isn't it?" Once again, I elicit no reply from her. Perhaps she didn't hear me. "That's really something, don't you think?" Nothing. I don't know if she's deaf or just plain rude, so I step in front of her and confront her face to face. "Do you like the painting?" She sighs and begins to walk away. "Hey lady! Where ya goin'?"
            "In case you haven't figured it out by now, she can't hear you, Quinn," says a voice coming from behind me. I turn around and inspect the man who spoke. He's a well trimmed man, wearing an all tweed suit with a fob to boot. His brown hair is slicked over and he is sucking on a churchwarden pipe, allowing the sweet scent of cherry tobacco smoke to escape through his nostrils . His sharp, green eyes peer at me with an understanding I have never seen before.
            "Do you know what's going on here?" I inquire of the stranger.
            He slowly rises from the bench from where he was perched and walks past me and begins to inspect my work. "For what it's worth, I think your work is very well done. I've never been too interested in art, but I can tell the chaff from the wheat."
            "You're familiar with my work?" How else would he know my name?
            "With this one piece, yes, I am very well acquainted. I have seen some of your other work, although I would have sifted it."
            I don't take too kindly to this slap at first, but I shake it off. "Your accent sounds a little different. You Welsh?"
            "Perhaps. I'm not entirely sure. I seem to sound different to everyone I come into contact with. If you hear me as a Welshman, then to you, my good sir, that is what I am." This stranger is starting to irk me a bit in the way he is not giving me any straightforward answers.
            "So what exactly is going on here?" I ask once more, this time with a bit more authority in my voice as to demand a reply this time around. "Why couldn't that woman hear me?"
            He averts his gaze from the painting for a brief second and looks at me. "Simple. It's because she's still living." With that, he turns his attention right back to the painting.
            "What exactly do you mean by that?" I answer, my voice trembling.
            He continues to stare straight forward, begins moving his lips slightly, and then starts laughing to himself. "You'll have to excuse me, Quinn. I often assume you people already know, but more often than not, I am the bearer of bad news. None of these people around you," he says as he gestures to the audience in the gallery, "can see or hear you because you are dead. Freshly dead by the look of it. Your features have grown a bit more solid than someone who's body is recently cold on the coroner's table, but you're still quite dim." At this comment I look at my hand and see he is right. Instead of solid flesh, my hand is somewhat transparent, mainly a floating wisp as it is. "Doesn't matter much, anyhow. Even if your features were completely solid, they still wouldn't be able to register your existence. Can't go back once you're gone. Rule number one."
            I stand there, baffled at the revelation. "So I can assume that you are the Angel of Death, yeah?"
            "Not entirely. An associate of sorts," my companion replies with a slight chuckle.
            "If I'm not allowed to go back, then what I am doing here right now?"
            "The dead are allowed one last go 'round, a farewell tour if you will. You can think of me as your guide."
            "No offense, but I don't really have a lot of places to go to. I never got around much." It's somewhat strange to refer to myself in the past tense in this context, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.
            "Fair enough. There is one place I am required to take you to, however." At this, my partner grabs my wrist. As he does so, something like an allergic reaction begins to sweep through my sinuses and I begin sneezing. The fits leave as quickly as they came and when I open my eyes, we are no longer standing in Whitechapel. Instead, we are now outdoors, the sun shining through my translucent body and I begin to take in my surroundings. We are in a graveyard. I know this place. My parents are buried here. I haven't been back since the day of the funeral. My work always prevented me from returning.
            "Sorry about your sneezing, there. First time travelling like that can have numerous effects on a soul."
            "What are we doing here?" I plead.
            "Necessary stop. It's part of my duty to take you to your burial site."
            "This isn't going to be like Scrooge is it? Am I supposed to learn the value of Christmas from all of this?" I facetiously ask.
            "Only if you want it to be. I can't force any lesson upon you." We maneuver across the lot, my feet taking steps but making no real contact with the ground, and arrive at a collection of tombstones. The two on the left bear the names of my parents, Donald and Mary Adamson. Beside them is, upon further inspection, my own tombstone. Quinn Arthur Adamson. Born 18 August1909. Died 6 January 1941. The grave marker is worn and covered in moss.
            As I stare upon my crypt, I cannot seem to remember how exactly my demise was brought about. "How did I die?" I inquire, never averting my gaze from my final resting place. It's an eerie thing to look upon your own tomb, something I would not recommend. A silly recommendation, but sincere.
            "London Blitz. You were returning from the art gallery, visiting your work when the Luftwaffe dropped a shell not ten meters from you. It was quick. You briefly felt the heat from the explosion, but nothing more." I try to imagine any of this happening but to no avail. I'm just going to have to take his word on it.
            "How long ago was it?"
            "Somewhat recently. Time is a bit of a confusing concept for me to grasp. It doesn't exist for me the way it does to you, formerly for that matter. In Earth years, the Blitz happened seven years ago. The war ended two years ago. You and I met already three years ago Earth time." My head is spinning. The concept of time not really existing in the realm of the deceased is something I don't think I am going to get used to very easily.
            The scene is starting to weigh down on me. I want to leave. "Do you mind if we go back to the gallery? I wish to admire my work once more."
            "If that's what you want." Blink of an eye and we're back in Whitechapel. I meander over to a bench and feign sitting down. The people visiting the museum walk aimlessly about, none of whom are even paying any attention to the masterpiece right in front of their very eyes. As my friend and I linger, a woman I know or once used to know comes strolling our way.
            "Ho! It's my sister!" I shout in pleasure to my companion. "But who's that little fellow with her?" Clutching my sister's leg is a boy no older than four wearing a navy pea coat, blonde hair tousled upon his round head.
            "Molly Cooper, formerly Molly Adamson, and her son, Benjamin."
            "Where's the father?"
            "Michael Cooper was killed in France during the war."
            I am trying to remember any Michael Cooper that my sister may have ever mentioned. As far as I knew, Molly was never married, so I must have never met the man. "She married after I died."
            My friend looks me straight on. "Molly Cooper, married sixth of June, nineteen-thirty-seven."
            I am stunned. Of course, I hadn't seen Molly since our parent's funeral. Her marriage occurred seven years before I died. My sister. A married woman all the while I was walking the earth. If I had the capability to cry right now, I probably would be shedding a tear.
            She picks up the child and she leads them up to my painting. "See that, Benny? That painting right there? Your uncle made that. He made that all by himself. You would've liked your uncle, Benny. He was creative, just like you. Oh, the drawings he used to do when we were children." Molly begins to cry. "You would have loved him, Benny. And he would have taught you everything he knows." She's lying to herself. It's evident on her face. She's lying more to herself than she is to the toddler.
            "What was his name, Mummy?" the tyke asks.
            The mother looks as if she is on the verge of breaking down, but straightens up and puts on her best smile for her son. "Quinn, Benny. His name was Quinn. My mummy named him that. Come on, now, darling. Let's not linger. Other people are wanting to see the lovely picture."
            I want to scream out to Molly that I'm right here, right next to her, but I know that it would be futile. "That was really something," my friend says.
            "How do you mean?"
            "That was the first time she has been able to say your name since your funeral. She loved you, Quinn. Still does. Hurts her so, but she still loves you." This weighs heavily on me. I loved Molly too, all my heart. But it had been so long since we had spoken that I chose to sever the communication altogether so I could focus on my art. Couldn't have anyone interfering, even my own flesh and blood.
            I turn away from my companion and Molly is there again, but she is older. Not much older, but time is whizzing by and she is aging right before my eyes. The painting on the wall is also starting to look faded, affected by this time warp. "What's happening?"
            "Time is happening, Quinn. Every year, on the anniversary of your passing, Molly comes to this gallery to remember you. She feels as if it's the most contact she's had with you in a very long while, possibly the most she's ever had." As he is speaking, time is slowing down and Molly sits before us now a very old woman. With tired eyes she gazes upon the painting with such a pity and sorrow the likes this soul has never seen.
            A middle-aged man with thinning, blonde hair comes rushing around the corner. He spots Molly on the bench and rushes up to her. "There you are, Mother. Had us all worried sick, you did. Over here, nurse."
            A young woman in a white uniform walks around the corner."There, there, Mrs. Cooper. Gave us quite a scare. That's it. Nice and easy. Let's get you back to the home now. It's nearly time for your medication. Wouldn't want to have missed that, would we?" She starts leading my sister away. The frail old woman struggles a bit but is no match for the nurse's youth and reluctantly goes along.
            "It's nineteen-eighty-seven.," my friend begins. "Molly is eighty-one years old and has been suffering from dementia. Her son placed her in a nursing home a few months ago. She will be joining our realm in a short matter of time, now."
            Benjamin remains standing in our presence and a very official looking gentleman walks up to him. "She all right?" the man politely asks.
            "Yeah, she'll be fine," Benjamin replies. He turns and looks upon my painting and a scowl falls upon his face. "Ugh, I don't know what she sees in this painting. It's her favorite one, though. Comes here about once a year to look at it. I think she once knew the man that painted it. Maybe it was her brother? Come to think of it, I'm not sure she had a brother. If she did, she never mentioned him much. I don't even think she can remember why she comes here to look at this piece of junk, but she does it all the same."
            "Yes, not much is known about this painting. We believe it is the artist's only piece. It's been here since the nineteen thirties and is finally coming down this week to make room for a new exhibit coming in. It isn't worth very much. Would you like to talk to my superiors and see if perhaps we can donate it to your mother's nursing home?"
            Benjamin looks with contempt upon the piece. "Come to think of it, I think she did have a brother. Kyle? Quail? I'm not sure. She can't even remember my name, much less his. No, dispose of it like you would any other painting. It will be better for her." With this, Benjamin begins to walk away.
            I am running, gliding, screaming at my nephew. "Give it to her! She needs it! Your mother needs this! My sister needs this!" My words fall on deaf ears. "My name is Quinn! It's Quinn! Listen, damn it, my name is Quinn!" Benjamin hesitates for a moment. Is it possible that he can hear me? He looks about suspiciously, shakes off the notion,  and proceeds out of the building.
            "You know, Quinn, they say a man dies twice. There's the actual day of his passing and then the last time his name is mentioned. It appears your second death has come."
            I throw myself at my visitor, arms flailing but they pass right through him. I stop my thrashing and fall at his feet. "Is there anything I can do? I can't let it end like this. I need to help my sister. I need to let her know that she is not forgotten though I may be."
            My friend bends down to my level, looks me in the eye, and slaps me firmly on the cheek. "Get up," he commands. I rub the place on my face my friend made contact with, trying to sooth the stinging. I do as he says. "Quinn, life is much more than art, much more than any other hobby or interest that one might have. Life's about the relationships you make. Your art is here one day and gone the next. You're witness to that. Relationships last eternity. They come into this realm with you very much real and alive."
            I am now coming to the realization that my friend slapped my cheek. His hand did not pass through. I look at my own hands and they are growing ever more solid until they are once again flesh. "You're getting a chance here, Quinn. Don't mess this up. Make the most of what you have."
            The gallery is growing brighter by the second. A loud ringing is filling the halls and I cover my ears. "Who are you?" I shout over the deafening noise.
            "I don't have a name that would be understood by you humans. Call me The Reckoning. Make the most of what you have, Quinn."
            My eyes pop open to the all too familiar sight of my flat, dirty and covered in art supplies. The alarm on the clock next to my bed is ringing, a quarter past nine. I slam my hand over the anvil, put on a fresh shirt and trousers, and run out into the street. I scamper clear across the heart of London to a little house on Baker Street. Frantically, I ring the bell until a woman comes and answers the door. "Quinn? What are you doing here? Why aren't you at the gallery?"
            "The gallery can wait, Molly. I just wanted to spend the time with you today, catch up, ya know? I want to teach Benjamin some of the tricks to my trade, too, if that's all right."
            "Who's Benjamin?" she implores with a joyous, curious twinkling in her eye.
            I laugh to myself and reply, "This may be a strange question, but what year is it?"
            "It's 1936, Quinn. What's gotten into you?"
            "Who is it, darling?" A brusque man walks around the corner and into the doorway. His firm yet caring hands tak hold of Molly by the shoulders.

            "Oh, Michael, you startled me." Molly averts her gaze from the man and looks at me. "Michael's my fiancĂ©." Her adoring eyes fall once again upon the man. For whom the adoration is for, I cannot entirely say, but the love I feel right now is greater than that which I have felt in years, perhaps my life. "Michael, this is my brother, Quinn."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Switch: Part Three

                I step onto the front porch and swing the screen door open. No lights are on in the house except a dimly lit lantern on the kitchen table. "I'm right here if you need me," my dad whispers in my ear.
                "Thanks, Pop." I walk into the residence; the musty smell that has accumulated over the years of the home being uninhabited hits my nostrils and I nearly gag. "Hello?" I call out. Something shuffles in the living room. "Maggie? Maggie, can you hear me?"
                Maggie suddenly bursts forth from the shadows and clings to me. "Dad!" she begins to sob.
                I sympathetically hush her. "It's okay, Maggie. I'm here now. Everything's going to be fine." As I attempt to soothe my daughter, my eyes fall upon a man standing in the living room. He's a small, lean fellow, but I can't make out any of his features. My blood begins to boil and I grip Maggie tighter. "What do you want from me?" I angrily spit at him. "I can't imagine you're just going to allow me to leave here with my daughter. What do you want?"
                "I don't want anything from you," says the low, gravelly voice. "I only wanted him." He raises a revolver and quickly fires three rounds into the corner. I hear my father cry out in pain.
                I rush to my dad's side. "What's wrong with you?!" I cry at the man in the shadows. "You're sick! First, you kidnap my daughter and now you've shot my father!" I feel the wounds in my father's chest; three hits, two around his heart. Any chance he had of surviving just went out the window. "Maggie, go call the cops." She nods and runs out the door.
                "I didn't shoot you're father," the man says.
                "What are you talking about?! You're even more disturbed than I thought!"
                "That man is not your father."
                "Don't listen to him, Paul," my dad wheezes.
                "I'm not the one lying here, and he knows it.  That man is not your father."
                "And I suppose you're going to tell me that you are?" I sarcastically retort.
                "Of course not. I'm your brother." He slides a vanilla envelope across the floor to where I'm kneeling. "If you don't believe me, the evidence is in there. Open it." I do so, and a document, some newspaper clippings, and a photograph fall out. The document is a birth certificate issued to a Jonathan Ray O'Connor, born the Fifteenth of February, 1962 in Larum, Oklahoma. That's my birthday. But I've never been to Oklahoma. A same birth date can be easily written off as a coincidence. I peruse the newspaper clippings. O'Connor Child Abducted; City-Wide Search for Suspected Kidnappers; Police Declare O'Connor Case Cold. There's a picture of an infant with the second story. I recognize it almost immediately. That same picture is in a scrapbook at my parents' house; it's from the day my they brought me home from the hospital. I'm not sure how coincidental that is. I now look at the single photograph. It's a digitally composed picture of myself, or someone who looks a lot like me.
                "Where did you get this?" I ask as I hold up the image.
                "Called in a favor down at the police department. Took one of the few pictures I had of you and a computer was able to determine what you would look like now." All this information is hitting me hard, and I don't know what to believe.
                "Is this true, Pop?"
                My dad gives a sigh. "Your mother and I wanted a child. She just had a miscarriage. We didn't know what to do. Martha was so desperate. We heard that our neighbors had a child. We had family up here in Michigan that would help us lay low, so we..."
                "You have no idea how terrible it is to sit in the hallway every night and hear your mother cry over her lost child," the man interjects. "As I held her hand on her deathbed last year, I swore to her that I would right the wrong done to my father and her forty-two years ago. I've spent the past year tracking you down and now I've completed what I set out to do."
                "Don't hold this against me, Paul," the man dying on the floor says. "Didn't we raise you right? I may not have been there in the hospital when you were born, but I'm still your father, aren't I?"
                My head is swimming in a sea of confusion. My entire world is collapsing around me. "I don't know who you are. I don't even know who I am. My entire life has been a lie." My eyes now transfix on the man at my feet. "And it's all because of you."
                The man closes his eyes. "Still doesn't mean I don't care about you." He heaves a sigh and breathes his last.
                My brother walks over to me and puts his hand on my shoulder.  "You can understand why I had to do this, can't you , Jonathon? Mom loved you so much. I couldn't let this go unpunished."
                I rise and look my brother in the eyes. Our resemblance is uncanny. "How did she die? Our mom, how did she die?"
                "Cancer. It's a shame you never met her. Not a day went by that she didn't say a prayer for you."
                "What about Dad?"
                "He died when I was about twenty. That would've have put you around sixteen. Accident at the steel mill where he worked. The greatest man I've ever known. You would've loved them both. They were so scared after you were abducted that they never tried to have any more children. It's just you and me now." The sound of sirens blare in the distance. "By the sound of things, it might just be you here shortly." My brother walks to the back of the house and stares out the door.
                "What are you going to do now that you've accomplished what you set out for?" I ask.
                "Go on the run. I just murdered a man, so the cops are gonna be on my tail." He walks out the exit and gets into his car.
                "Come stay with me for a bit. I'll help you keep under the radar."
                He smiles. "I can't do that to you. Your life was stolen from you, and I don't want to cause you to throw the rest of it away. What about Maggie? That part of your life isn't a lie. You have a daughter who loves you and needs you. I've got nothing. I'm happy I was just able to finally meet you."
                "What's your name at least?" I plead.
                "Paul. Ironic, isn't it?" We both chuckle. He closes the door, ignites the engine, and the car disappears from view.
                I walk around the house and find Maggie curled up in the front seat of the car fast asleep, exhausted from the night's events. I get in and start driving away. We pass the cops a ways down the road. In a few minutes, they're going to find a farmhouse with a dead body in it. I assume that they're going to start searching for my brother, and, if they're any good, they'll catch him. The sad part is they would be catching the wrong man. The real enemy is dead, and I wouldn't have known that truth if it weren't for Paul. All these years, the two people I thought were my closest friends were enemies in disguise. Perhaps clichĂ©s are more applicable than I thought, although not in the way that it was originally meant.  Keep your friends close...